Watching the waiver wire movement for O-line, DT, CB prospects was a major focus as soon as the last preseason game completed. Well, it appears we have picked up one of the more coveted CB FA from NE. We may yet get a DT or two from FA cuts, and possibly an O-lineman. Since there was no waiver activity I was forced to peruse the practice squad signings and was pleasantly surprised with you tube clips on Adam Grant. We may have a diamond in the rough in our own back yard while we were looking for gold elsewhere. The video clips I saw showed an ability to box his blocks in or out, an ability to scan for and pick up stunts when not currently engaged in blocking, an impressive ability to get to the second level, and I LOVED how he moved from a "no one to block" play to sliding into a double team where he hand punched the opponent into the ground. Scouting reports says he tends to play too high and cites a lack of playing experience, due to injury and a position switch form TE but these speak to "coachability" issues to me. In other words, he could easily be coached out of these bad habits.
Many have trashed our entire 2nd team O-line through training camp and preseason, and I have to acknowledge apprehension if not disgust at times with the lack of protection from that group, BUT I have to say video footage indicates Chris Clark and Herb Taylor have some raw potential. The overall feel for me is we have an excellent O-line coach capable of coaching these guys up, including the starters, and that we will get stronger and stronger as the year progresses.
In fact, if there is an overall theme for this post it is the sense that we have a real chance to keep improving through out the year, to get stronger and stronger in virtually every personnel category with the possible exclusion of our kickers (they are playing at an elite level now). Take our front seven comprised of newcomers, position switches, and rookies, there is no way they don't improve just from playing time with each other, getting familiar with each other. By mid-season I see us defending the screen pass much better and our middle run defense tightening up considerably.
Same thing with our secondary. With Dawk and Champ there to shepherd the development of Vaugh, Raheim Moore, and Carter I suspect the secondary will be vastly improved by the 2nd half of the season. Our secondary was vilified last year but injuries slowed down both Dawk and Andre Goodman and there was NO penetration/pressure by the front 7 to take the pressure off the secondary like there is now. IF, and this is a HUGE "IF" we stay healthy this position group could be truly scary by mid-season.
Personally, it appears to me that we have THE most receiving potential this team has EVER had and I've been a Bronco Maniac since 1967. It boggles the mind to add in the TE athleticism and speed with two high quality possession receivers (Royal and Erick Decker). Couple this with the down field speed of Brandon Loyd, Willis, and later in the year Demetryius Thomas and we have some dynamite ready to explode.
Unfortunately, there is NOT a great sense that our running backs have a lot more upside than we're seeing right now. That's not to say they won't be very effective, but I don't see them showing the kind of growth by mid-season that is the general theme of this post. The same can be said of Orton just in terms of physical limits. We need to stay healthy here more than any other position and "coach our butts off" with the other two QBs.
In fact, we need to stay relative injury free across the entire team and we absolutely MUST keep Orton's uni clean if we are to achieve playoff contention let alone success. Having said that this year just may prove to be one of the most enjoyable to watch relative to what we've seen for the past 10 or better.
Here's to a healthy year, persistent growth throughout the year, and a guarantee we will beat the Raiders twice, IF we stay healthy.
Stuff the rest of the West up the collective bum! Go Broncos! That's my story and I'm stickn to it!